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Hivelights July 2022

Hivelights July 2022

What a change a month (and 14 cm of rain) makes! All of a sudden we have flowers everywhere and a plethora of nectar options for our bees. As long as the rain continues regularly, we may get a bumper crop of honey which will make everyone happy!

This rapid increase in nectar flow means that beekeepers need to be extra diligent in preventing swarms. A swarm is initiated when the hive becomes overcrowded, which happens if the queen's brood production outpaces the beekeepers supply of empty boxes. A swarm is very impressive, as a dark cloud of loudly buzzing bees moves across the landscape. What should you do if you see one in motion or clustered in a tree?

The first thing to remember is that the swarm is, effectively, lost. Without brood or honey to defend, they are very docile and not likely to sting. It's a natural way for a hive to 'supersede' and the original queen and half of her workers have left for a new location while a replacement queen is already in development inside the original hive. Wild honey bee nests do this regularly. And unless you're feeling adventuresome, it's best to contact your local Beekeeping group. In the Calgary area, that would the Calgary & District Beekeeepers Association. We have found honey bee swarms in some interesting locations, such as on fence posts, on playground equipment, on vehicles and even attached to a chandelier - when someone left their dining room window open!


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